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Cleveland Sports “The Heartbreaking History”

My friend George, who is the biggest Browns fan I know came to me with an idea for an article.  The idea was to cover the negative history of sports teams in Cleveland.  I took that Idea and turned it into what you are about to read.  George, this is for you brother!

Cleveland has a history of bad luck and heartbreaking defeats when it comes to its sports franchises.  From the “Fumble” to Lebron’s “Decision”.  There have also been some incredible times for Cleveland’s sports franchises, however the bad far out way the good.  Cleveland is a city that loves it’s sports, unfortunately sports gods do not care for Cleveland very much.  I am going to take you on a trip through the history of Cleveland sports.  So sit back, relax and revel in Cleveland’s sorrows.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Michael Jordan celebrating the “Shot”
(Getty Images)

The Cleveland Cavs have had many Horrible season.  The team has held the franchise record for most loses in a season with 67, twice.  The first came in their inaugural season of 1970-71 and the second  during the 1981-82 season.   The team made a strong run in 1989 only to fall hard to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.  The game became known for the “Shot”, it was the final game in round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs.  The moment was considered one of the greatest clutch moments in the history of Michael Jordan’s career.  It was one of the worst moments in history of the Cavileers.  The Cavs have never won an NBA Title, not even with the great Lebron James.  The team has only made one trip to the NBA Finals, in 2007 the Cavs were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 4 games.  The City has Lebron James to blame for one of their many horrible moments.  In 2010 Lebron had an ESPN special live from a Boys and Girls Club in his home town of Akron, Oh.  Many thought because of the location he would be announcing that he would be staying in Cleveland.  He instead announced he would be taking his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat.  That infamous broadcast is known as the “Decision” The City was in an uproar and Lebron jerseys were quickly being thrown away and even burned in the streets of the City who’s heart he broke.  The team followed up the “Decision” with one of the worst seasons in the history of the NBA.  The team lost a record tying 26 games in a row in the 2010-11 season.  The Cavs are 2 years removed from that fateful night and have never been able to get over it.  The team may be destined to dwell in the sadness that is Cleveland sports forever.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians lose to the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series
(Getty Images)

The Indians are one of the teams that have been successful at times but have had more bad seasons than good ones.  The team has two World Series Championships.  The first came in 1920 and the most recent was back in 1948.  The Indians have added to the cities history of heartbreak over the years.   From 1960-1993 the team never made the playoffs and spent most of their seasons in last place.  In 1995 the Indians were one of the best teams in the MLB, until they made it to the World Series and lost to the Braves in 6 games.  The team made another trip to the World Series in 1997.  The tribe lost the series to the Florida Marlins in a devastating late inning Game 7 affair in Miami.  The team has been through countless rebuilding periods, all with no success.  The team was even featured as lovable losers and misfits in the major motion picture “Major League”.  The Indians are only second to one other team in the city of heart break, The Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns Earnest Byner seconds after the “Fumble”
(Getty Images)

The city’s most devastating stories and moments have come from their football team, the Browns.  The team had early success in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  The Hall Of Fame Quarterback Otto Graham led the team to ten straight championship games with the Browns winning 7 of them.  The team found great success with Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown.  Brown played with the team in the 60’s and 70’s and established himself as one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL.  The 1980’s brought the team some success. Led by their young quarterback Bernie Kosar, the team made it to the AFC Championship game twice.  Both meetings were against the rival Denver Broncos and their superstar QB John Elway.  The first of those championship meetings came in the 1986 AFC Championship game.  The Browns were leading the Broncos and had them pinned down on their own 2 yard line with 5 minutes and 11 seconds to play.  John Elway was about to show the world that he was one of the best of that era with the “Drive”.  Elway led his team all of the way down the field to score a touchdown and tie the game at 20-20.  The damage had been done and Cleveland lost the game 23-20 in overtime.  The “Drive” took place in Cleveland but that wasn’t the last quotable game to take place at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.  In the 1987 AFC Championship Game the Broncos came into town again.  This time the Browns dominated the Broncos for most of the game and looked to be the AFC Champions.  Then the unthinkable happened again, this moment was to be known as the “Fumble”.   With the game tied 30-30 Kosar and the Browns were on the Broncos 8 yard line with 1 minute and 12 seconds left on the clock.  Kosar took the snap and handed the ball off to running back Earnest Byner for what looked like and open touchdown run.  Out of nowhere came the Broncos defensive back Jeremiah Castille who stripped Byner of the ball. The Broncos took the intentional safety and ended up scoring a touchdown with less than a minute to play in the game.  The Broncos defeated the Browns by a score of 38-33.  The city of Cleveland has never fully recovered from the “Drive” or the “Fumble”.  In 1995 The Browns played their final game in Cleveland before owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore to become the Ravens.  Modell claimed that he moved the team because he was losing money and could not keep the team the city without a new stadium.  He petitioned for a new stadium for years and saw a new ballpark go up and a new arena be constructed while he was left without tax payer support and a dilapidated stadium.  The Browns would return in 1999 as an expansion team but still had rights to the history of the team unlike other cities who lost their teams and history like Houston.  The “new” Browns have only made it to the playoffs once.  There was hope for the team with new ownership to turn things around in 2012.  The Browns were shut out of the playoffs for another season this year.

All of Cleveland’s major sports teams have gone through hardships. The Browns are by far Cleveland’s most heartbreaking team with a history that will not let the fans of Cleveland rest easy.  Any time something goes well for any of their teams disappointment is sure to follow.  Maybe one day the sports gods will treat the great fans of Cleveland to some success and happiness.

*UPDATE*

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to become NBA Champions for the first time in their history.  They also ended the decades long championship drought for the city of Cleveland.  This event was aided by LeBron James returning to Cleveland in 2014.

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“The End Of Drama In Orlando”- Dwight Howard Traded To Lakers

After playing eight seasons for the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.  The trade had been rumored since yesterday became a reality on Friday.  The trade involved The Lakers, Magic, Nuggets and 76ers.  The Lakers ended up with Howard and sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers who also recieved Jason Richardson from the Magic.  The Nuggest landed Andre Iguodala from the 76ers while the Magic received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, three 1st round picks and a second round pick for 2013.  It was the mega trade we had been expecting almost the entire summer.

Dwight Howard is leaving Orlando as a villain.   He skipped out on a charity event recently in Orlando, that wasn’t going to win him any fans.  Howard has been playing hardball with the team since the season ended. Yet the team still tried anything they could to make him happy enough to stay.  The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy in May and the previous GM to appease Howard.  Howard did not care he still wanted to leave as a free agent.  The Magic had been that road before with Shaq in 1996 and were not about to let that happen this time around.

When trade rumors started Howard demanded going to the Brooklyn Nets and nowhere else.  Howard put the team in a rough situation by lowering his trade value.  He stated that he would not resign with any team other than the Nets or Mavericks when his contract is up after this season.   A lot of interested teams quickly ran away not wanting to lose a lot for a one year stand with Dwight.  Luckily for the Magic they were able to put together a deal that they can build a team for the future with.  The team is ready to get on with life and with Dwight Howard out of the picture will be able to.

Dwight Howards legacy with the Magic will be a tarnished one.  A story of feuding with his coach, stirring up trouble for the team and alienating himself from the fans of Orlando.  The City of Orlando had been waiting for a star when they drafted Dwight in 2004.   The team wanted to win a championship with Howard and the closest they came was the 2009 NBA Finals.  The Lakers squashed the Magic in that year and the team never returned to the championship game since.  The Magic should have realized earlier that Howard was not the man that could take them to a title.

Howard is now officially the most hated man in the NBA and it will not change anytime soon.  He cares not about the team but himself.  Howard has made his bed and no he has to sleep in it.  Good riddance Dwight Howard.

Jose Reyes Extends Streak To 25 Games In Victory

Jose Reyes kept his streak alive tonight in a winning effort over his former team.  The Miami Marlins defeated the New York Mets by a score of 4-2.  Reyes went 1-4 and received his hit in the fourth inning.  Reyes now has a hit in 25 consecutive games.  Reyes has the longest hitting streak in the Majors this year.

The Marlins will play the Mets again on Wednesday Night when Chris Young Takes the hill for the Mets.  Young is 3-5 this year with a 4.22 ERA.  Reyes has yet to attract major attention for his streak thus far.  If he makes it past 30 he will undoubtedly not be ignored any more.

UFC On FOX 4, Machida “Most Impressive”

The UFC returned to Loas Angeles, CA and the Staples Center on Saturday night.  The event was the UFC’s 4th special on the FOX network.  The main show on FOX featured four fights.  Two of the fights featured Light Heavywieghts that would determine who will face the winner of the Jon Jones VS Dan Henderson for the division’s championship.  UFC President stated earlier this week that the fighter who looked “Most Impressive” would get the future Light Heavyweight Title shot.

The show started with a Welterweight fight between Damarques Johnson and the returning Mike Swick.  Johnson dominated the fight on the ground in the 1st round.  When the 2nd round began the fight quickly turned around for Swick who was able to grab Johnson’s leg and take him down.  While Swick was taking Johnson down when he delivered a knockout punch to Johnson and was victorious in his return to fighting after a 2 year absence.

The next fight had Joe Lauzon defeat Jamie Varner in a Lightweight contest via submission in the 3rd round.  This was an incredible back and forth fight that had both men matched up pretty evenly.  Varner seemed to get tired as the fight progressed.  Lauzon took advantage of Varner’s fatigue with a triangle choke in the 3rd round that forced Varner to submit.  Great showing for both fighters but this fight made Lauzon look like a star.

In the 1st of 2 Light Heavyweight bouts, Lyoto Machida defeated Ryan Bader in the 2nd round via knockout.  Both fighters stood up during the 1st round and neither fighter took great risk or damage.  Early in the second round Machida counter punched his way to a victory when Bader took a chance at charging at Machida with strikes.  Machida looked good in this fight and ended it early like he was expected to do.

The Main event and final Light Heavyweight bout took place between Shogun Rua and Brandon Vera.  This fight was won by Rua with a knockout in the 4th round.  This fight was mostly dominated by Rua who had Vera on the ground for a lot of the fight and landed more strikes.  Vera did looked good in the fight with the amount of punishment he was able to take and still push through.  Rua won when he knocked Vera down to the ground with a punch against the cage and was able to finish it by punishing Vera.  Rua admitted he was getting tired towards the 2nd round and it showed.

Lyoto Machida gets a future title shot.
(Photo By: Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

Dana White after the show was over announced that he felt Machida was “most impressive” and would recieve the future title shot.  White’s decision was the obvious and correct one.  Jon Jones is likely to be the Champion who will face Machida later this year or early next year.  Jones does have to fight Dan Henderson who is a legend in the sport but probably will not be able to defeat Jones.  Jones has previously defeated Machida so the fight will be difficult for the UFC to sell.  That is the nature of the beast however and the UFC will just have to find a way to market the fight.

This was a solid show with good fights that did not go to decision.  The UFC needs to continue to put good shows on FOX so that they can attract more casual fans.  It would be to their advantage to put bigger fights on the FOX shows to expand the audience.  The UFC feels their main focus should be PPV and not the network specials.  At least this turned out to be a good show but the UFC needs to step up their game on FOX if they want to create new fans.

Jose Reyes’ Hitting Streak Is Holding Strong At 22 Games

The Miami Marlins are having a disappointing season, so much so that no one saw this coming. The team headed into the 2012 season with so much hope and excitement for what could be. They have dismantled the team to the point it hardly resembles the team that was supposed to make the playoffs when the year began. As of Saturday the team sits 14.5 games behind the 1st place Washington Nationals and a Wildcard birth looks very unlikely. The only bright spot that can be seen at the point is Jose Reyes and his hot hitting streak.

Jose Reyes
(Photo By Al Bello/Getty Images)

Jose Reyes began this hitting streak on July 13th and is holding strong at 22 games going into Saturday’s game against the Nationals. Reyes went 1-3 in the first game of Friday’s double header with the Nationals and 3-5 in the second game. Reyes has always been a great hitter but has really improved his hitting and it shows with this current streak. He broke his previous streak of 19 games this past week.

Luis Castillo holds the team record for most consecutive games with a hit with 35 games in 2002. That is a mark that Reyes has a strong chance of beating. The have been 55 players in the history of Major League Baseball to have at least 30 consecutive games with a hit. Reyes is the caliber of hitter and streaky enough to become number 56. The question the will be asked if he can make it past 30 will be how far can he go?

Everyone knows that Joe DiMaggio holds the record at 56 games in 1941 and that mark is very unlikely to be broken soon if ever. The closest anyone has come in the last 20 years was the Phillies Jimmy Rollins in the 2005 and 2006 seasons with 38 games. If anyone was going to make a good run and come close to DiMaggio in this era of baseball it would be Joe Reyes. Reyes is still very young and has a lot of potential as a hitter even though he is already one of the best in baseball. Reyes is the defending National League batting champion and this will not be his last claim to that title.

As this season grows older and the Marlins fall deeper in the standings the Marlins might have something to get excited about. That rests solely in the hands of Jose Reyes and his bat. Could we be watching history right now? It is too early to tell but we are seeing an amazing streak and its time for the sports world to pay attention to Reyes. If they don’t start now they may be missing history in the making.

Team USA Wins Their Opener Against Team France

The basketball competition at the 2012 London Olympics began today.  The US team came into this Olympics with high expectations.  This years Team USA has been compared to the great 1992 “Dream Team”.   Team USA took to the court against Tony Parker and the French team.   The game tipped off at 2:30pm local time in London, England.

Team USA
(David Becker/Getty Images)

1st Quarter

The 1st quarter began with the US getting the first points on the board.  Both teams were missing nearly all of their 3 point attempts.  There were reports that the Olympic basketballs were sometimes slick and even over inflated, it would make sense given all of the missed 3 pointers.  Neither team had very flashy play other than when Lebron James threw a long pass to Kevin Durant for a dunk on the French side of the court.  The 1st quarter came to an end with France’s Yannick Bokolo hitting the games first 3 point shot.  The score when the quarter ended was 22-21 in favor of team USA.  Tony Parker led the French team in the 1st quarter with 6 points, while the USA’s leading scorer was Kevin Durant with 7 points.

2nd Quarter

Lebron James started off the 2nd quarter with a 3 pointer.  The US team played the French team well on defense in the early part of the quarter.  Kevin Durant had an inedible blocked shot on a Nicolas Batum shot in the paint.  The US team committed a lot of fouls in the 1st half of the game, the french team did well at the free throw line when the fouls were made.  Durant continued his excellent play in the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 3 point shot with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the half.  Team USA moved the ball around very well and started racking up points.  The half ended with the Team USA leading the French team by a score of 52-36.  The leading scorer for the US in the 1st half was Kevin Durant with 14 points. The leading scorer for the French was Florent Pietrus with 8 points, he also was 4 for 4 at the free throw line.

3rd Quarter

The US continued the excellent defending against the French in the 3rd quarter.  Lebron received a great pass from Deron Williams for the layup at the rim with 5 minutes left to go in the quarter.  The passing of the US team was perfect and counted for a lot of the scoring by the team.  Kevin Love played really well in the game with his signature shooting and aggressiveness.  The US ended the quarter leading 78-51.  The US really played more fluid and started clicking better in this quarter.

4th Quarter

Tony Parker began the final quarter on the bench.  Parker had been out of playing shape heading into the Olympics due to the eye injury he sustained a couple of months ago.  The game was all but over, all that was left to do for Team USA was pull away even more in the score.  The NBA’s #1 draft pick Anthony Davis got into the game in the final quarter and put his 1st ever Olympic points on the board.  James Hardin made a nice break away dunk with 4 minutes left to go in the game.  The bench was on the court for Team USA most of the 4th quarter,  they are all top level players and showed it by holding the lead.   The game ended like most thought it would with Team USA taking the game by a score of 98-71.  Kevin Durant was the lead scorer in the game with 22 points, Ali Traore was France’s leading scorer with 12 points.

Team USA looked really good today.  They proved that they can play well together as a team and are likely to win the gold medals this year.  Kevin Durant came out of this game as the teams best player and lead the team very well today.  Many will say it’s Lebron’s team but after today I would say it’s Durant’s.  Tunisia will be their next opponent on Tuesday night.  That game like this one should not be a difficult one for a squad with this many great players.

The Dwight Howard Headache Continues For Orlando

Dwight Howard is not playing nice with the Magic.
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty images)

A few weeks ago it looked like the drama that is Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic was coming to an end, but here we are with Howard still on a team  he no longer wants to be on.  The Magic want Howard to give the new management a chance but he wants a trade and wants one now.  There is one problem though,  there are no teams that for one want to have Howard for one season only to see him leave or a team with assets worthy of him.

The Houston Rockets were pushing hard for Howard going into the draft.  Howard’s management even warned the team that if he were traded to Houston he would leave as a free agent next summer.  Still the Rockets pursued Howard feeling that their legacy and how they would perform as a team with him would sway his decision to leave in 2013.  The Magic were not offered a package of players that fit what they wanted.

Then came along the Brooklyn Nets, the team which Howard wants to ultimately end up with.  The Magic were offered a deal that would involve the Nets and 2 other teams that would send the Magic Center Brook Lopez and a handful of other players.  That deal was never accepted by the Magic and the Nets spent big money on Daron Williams and Lopez signed a contract extension with the team.  The extension makes Lopez untradable until January.  So the Magic will have to wait if they do in fact want Lopez.  Lopez would be the only star player the Nets could include in a trade that would be a good deal for the Magic.
The Lakers are the latest team to be in talks with the Magic for Howard.  The Lakers already traded away 2 future 1st round draft picks so that is off the table in a possible deal.  The star player that could be involved in a deal between the Magic and Lakers would be Andrew Bynum.  The problem with that scenario is two fold.  The first problem is that Bynum is a free agent in 2013 and would have to sign if the Magic would acquire him and he has shown strong interest in being a free agent next year.  The second issue is the Magic also want to unload a lot of their team and clean out some cap space.  The Lakers cannot help them there.  So the Magic stand with a player that is not looking to be going anywhere soon.

The Magic have been getting the rough end of this Howard situation.  They are not finding any great deals but at the same time can’t afford for him to leave as a free agent and get nothing for him.  Howard is really being tough with the team.  The team has new management and is wanting to work something out with Howard.  Howard does need to go but for the right price.  The Magic should wait this out a little longer until they get a deal they can live with.  The team will be set back many years if they don’t get players of value for Howard.  This is a bad situation and a bad summer for the team and things don’t look to be getting better anytime soon.